My Favorite Sites for Traveling with Dogs
A dog can be your best companion, always sharing everyday and special moments. It makes sense that when presented with the opportunity to go on vacation, you don't want to leave your dog behind. There are many resources you can use to enjoy a nice vacation in a dog-friendly environment. There are hotels, motels, camp sites, beaches, parks, even restaurants where you can take your pooch with you. While there are places that unfortunately are not dog-friendly, if you know where you look you can find many travel options and lodging for you and your dog. Your vet can be a good resource in locating these places. Friends and co-workers that own dogs can give you first-hand recommendations of how they have traveled, where they have stayed and what activities they enjoyed doing with their dogs the most. Triple A even published a booklet about the subject that has a listing of dog-friendly hotels and motels. There are also many websites where you can explore different possibilities.
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Once you narrow down your travel plans, you must be mindful of certain travel tricks and doggy etiquette so your trip is a success and you can help make things better for fellow travelers and their furry companions.
- Start by taking your dog to visit the vet for a good checkup before you leave. Update your dog's vaccinations and refill any medications your doggy might need while you are away. Do a tick and flea prevention treatment if you plan to go hiking.
- Other recommendations for safety are to have your dog wear a bandana when you go hiking so other persons don't confuse your furry friend with a wild animal and hurt him. Always keep your dog's leash handy and never take him out of the car or hotel room unleashed. This prevents your dog from getting lost and will avoid any incidents with other animals or strangers. Place and ID tag on your dog's collar so others can know who he belongs to in case your dog wanders away from you. If you are going to the beach, a dog life preserver is a great idea. For car travel, use a dog carrier that will allow your dog to look outside the window that has a doggy seat belt. Another option is using a large crate. Remember to stop at least every four hours to allow your dog to exercise. Bring enough of your dog's favorite food, plenty of water and any medications he might need. Do not feed until you stop driving for the night, but offer plenty of water during the day. Always check your dog for ticks, fleas and insect bites after coming back from spending time in wooded or grassy areas.
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- Good manners are even more important when traveling with your dog. One of the main reasons some establishments are reluctant to allow dogs is because of previous bad experiences with other pet owners. Always be in control of your dog and do not allow to bark him excessively, annoy other visitors or damage any property. Observe good hygiene and pick up after your dog.
My Top 10 Recommended Sites For Traveling Dog Owners
1. dogfriendly.com - is a very comprehensive site that can be your one-top resource for traveling with your dog. It has a blog, a products section, travel guide for the US and international travel, city guides, and it even has a link to books about traveling with your dog, some in e-book format. There are also sections on what beaches, campgrounds, outdoor restaurants, attractions and dog parks you can take your dog. In the tab for Events it lists current events where you can take your dog with a search option by state. All the other sections allow you to search by state and then by city. This is a very well-thought of site. They recommend to call ahead the listed places before you go to make sure their policies regarding dogs have not changed, but they did an excellent job of researching the places listed. Like, hey, who would have thought that I could take my dog wine tasting in Napa with me or have him hop on a horse carriage while we toured Central Park in New York City. It even lists vets you can call if you have an emergency while away.
2. pethotelsofamerica.com - is a very good sight for making travel plans. It is a good resource to find hotels, rental car companies, airlines, and also has a blog with extra information. It even has information on kennels if you happen to need a doggie day care facility. While the section on airlines don't allow you to make airline reservations, you can reserve your hotel, car rental and even find deals on a complete vacation package. This site really saves you the trouble of trying to make travel plans and then find out that the hotel you are looking at will not allow any animals just like the ones you were looking at right before.
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3. petswelcome.com - is a website written in a very informal, humorous tone. It lists amenities and lodging options by route, by the name of the commercial chain. It has sections on bed and breakfasts, cabin cottages and larger dogs needs. It lets you search for amenities from beaches to ski resorts, pet sitter day care and emergency vets. It has a section with classified ads where you can find additional services. Also has many articles on topics like traveling with pets, moving with pets and links to their facebook page where people can find and offer traveling tips. It has a lot, but it is not complicated to search through it. Just placing your mouse pointer by the menu area will make all the submenus display on your computer's screen.
4. pettravel.com - is a very well-thought of website. It was created by a former travel agent that realized there were no good options for pet owners to find out information on what different airlines required for travelers with pets. It has a tab where it explicitly lays out the pet policy of each of the different airlines and other modes of transportation, like cruises, ferries, trains, etc. It is through this website that I found out that I could actually take my dog on a cruise with me and that he would get a doggy biscuit at turn-down. The options for traveling to Europe are amazing since trains across the pond allow furry friends on a leach and muzzled to travel with their owners. The website also has a vast library of articles with information on many useful topics. It was through this library that I found out Las Vegas would be an excellent destination for us to travel because of the many amenities for dogs.
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5. bringfido.com - is the perfect place if you are ready to expand your horizons and take your dog along with you in your travels around the world. The site has information and search options for travel accomodations (including long term apartments), air travel, attractions, events, pet services. There are many alternatives for your pooch's culinary tastes with options for outdoor restaurants, bars, pubs and ice cream parlors. There is a forum area and there is a search box where you can get recommendations and options according to your needs.
6. takeyourpet.com - is a members-only website. You need to sign up and become a member to use its many useful tools. By signing up, you will receive a free newsletter with information about traveling with your pet. The website has free pet travel guides, a bulletin board where members can ask questions and exchange information. They offer discounted rates in lodging and a link with resources for traveling all over the US, such as: vets, kennels, boarding, food. They also offer a weekly giveaway.
7. hikewithyourdog.com - is a very comprehensive site for all things hiking with your dog. It has everything you need to go hiking with your furry companion: links to US State parks that welcome dogs listed by state, guide books that cover many states and cities, also available in e-book form. For $49 and a digital photo of your pet, they can even personalize your book cover. There is a section where people write about their dog's hiking experience at different parks. The article library is very extensive and has information on different hikes you can try with your dog, categorized by distance hiked, theme, estimated time, etc. You can also register with your dog for one of their guided group hikes. There are different rates and they provide all the supplies, snacks, water, first-aid kits, and poop bags.
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8. outdooradventuredogs.com - is a site that is written in very simple language and explains to pet owners how to do different activities with their dogs with their sections on beach, boating, backpacking, camping, flying, skiing, biking, motorcycling and sledding. They also sell gear for your pet's differerent activities with 10% of the proceeds going to the Humane Society. There is nothing cuter than their picture of a dog wearing a backpack with his hiking gear.
9. gopetfriendly.com - is a site with some unique features that I'm sure any dog owner that is looking to take his pet along for the ride will enjoy. The website's design makes it very easy to use, with soft and medium colors for emphasis and large bolded print. It has directories for activities, accommodations, pet services, restaurants, campgrounds, hotels etc. with easy to navigate search boxes, according to state, city and a distance radius. There is also a tab with an article library that has varied information including some on pet travel tips for the Holidays and what to do if your pet gets sick while you are traveling. The site also has a blog with more up to date information and travel tips such as: pet travel requirements and laws regarding specific breeds of dogs. The most unique feature of this website is the trip planner. In it you can map out your trip, just like when you search for directions on mapquest or google maps. This feature gives you the directions plus it highlights on the map what hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, activities and pet services are along the way. It displays the different categories as dots on the map with vivid, easy to decipher colors. This is great to have for any road trip you are going to make with your dog. It takes the worry out of having to figure out where to stop for what out of your travel plans. Also, it you have come across a great place you would like to recommend, there is a section where you can tell others about it so it can be added to the site. They use social media so you can follow them with facebook or twitter.
10. tripswithpets.com - is another website that makes traveling with your dog an easier, positive experience. What makes this one unique is their listings with discounts on lodging for you and your pet. They also have a TWP travel club. It is free to join and once you do, you will have access to advance notice on their advertised discounts. You also receive their Rover Reporter newsletter as well as discounts on their TWP store where you can buy pet travel supplies. They have a well-set online storefront with a generous customer policy and returns policy. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover and you can reach them from Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM EST. The rest of the site has a blog for more up to date information and news, travel tips for national and international travel, like what things you should pack, and take with you whether you and your dog travel by car, plane or boat. You can also access a tab with all of the major airlines websites and phone numbers so you can check the latest regulations regarding pet travel. The feature I'm most excited about is the search hotels by route where you type in the address you will be departing from and arriving to, like you do on mapquest or google maps, and it displays the directions plus all of the lodging options along the way that allow dogs. This one actually lists more hotels and motels than the one I reviewed above, which can give your trip more flexibility and peace of mind.
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